Developers of Apache, the Internet's most widely used webserver application, have released an update that causes websites to ignore privacy settings in the upcoming release of Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
The changes, which came to light late last week, suppress privacy settings controlled by Do Not Track, a proposed Web standard that is intended to give end users a simple means to register their request that their browsing habits not be tracked by Websites and ad networks. The patch was written by Roy Fielding, one of the architects of Do Not Track, who publicly accused Microsoft of violating requirements in language accompanying the standard dictating that Do Not Track preferences be sent to websites only when users specifically enable them in configuration settings. Fielding is also an employee of Adobe Systems, developer of the ubiquitous Flash Player.
"The only reason DNT exists is to express a non-default option," Fielding wrote in a post defending the change. "That's all it does. It does not protect anyone's privacy unless the recipients believe it was set by a real human being, with a real preference for privacy over personalization."